Full-Time Dentist Captures Stunning Photographs of African Wildlife in His Spare Time


Jaco Marx is a dental surgeon by profession and a photographer and conservationist by passion. Currently living in central South Africa, Marx spends much of the limited free time he has photographing the African wilderness, both to simply enjoy his passion, as well as to document the wildlife and Earth around him. And the results are nothing short of gorgeous.

Marx picked up his first DSLR — a Canon EOS 350D (aka. The Canon Rebel XT) with a Sigma 30mm lens attached — fourteen years ago in 2000. “I was chuffed beyond words,” he remembers. Immediately, his passion for photography flourished and quickly consumed every ounce of the little free time he has.


Naturally, Marx’s love for photography quickly began to combine with his passion for keeping this world full of the beautiful creatures that inhibit it, and the environment in which they survive in. He realized that his photography could be used to bring the wildlife of Africa to the rest of the world through his newfound passion.

So, camera in hand, he did just that.

“My mission with my photography is to influence people; to change the way we think about wildlife,” he told us when we caught up with him over email. “To realize in what fragile state nature finds itself in these times we live: less habitat and more people, fauna and flora under severe pressure. Photography is a powerful tool for conservation.”


And Marx uses this tool to great effect, capturing and sharing stunning images of the creatures that roam Africa. But rather than tell you ourselves, we’ll leave you with his words, followed by a selection of images he was kind enough to share with us.

Photography gets you places: unspoiled wilderness, deserts, swamps and in between large herds of animals to get the adrenalin pumping.

The sounds of African: fish, eagles in the distance, loud roars of lion around a bend, hippo sounding the riverbed, hyenas laughing. These are the things we get to appreciate as wildlife photographers. Respect the environment we live in or visit. Be creative in ways to protect the immediate world we live in. We only have one Earth, let’s keep her safe.













To keep up with Marx or see more of his work, head over to his website and then give him a follow on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and/or 500px.

Image credits: Photographs by Jaco Marx and used with permission

  • g.s. photo

    Must be nice to live somewhere that has beautiful scenery. All I see is cornfields and soybeans

  • Gannon Burgett

    I feel your pain.

  • Neato!

    All I see is suburbanites with their SUVs and bratty kids.

  • Chang 场河

    I’ve taken some pretty awesome cornfield pictures, if I do say so myself.

  • S2N

    Great stuff!

  • Adam Cross

    usual run-of-the-mill, safari tourism stuff that the affluent 1D-X and long lens crowd seem to post online, nothing particularly “stunning” here (I assume this is being posted purely because he’s a dentist? ). But at least it’s not disturbing portraits in a studio with depressed zoo animals.

  • Burnin Biomass

    “Marx picked up his first DSLR — a Canon EOS 350D (aka. The Canon Rebel
    XT) with a Sigma 30mm lens attached — fourteen years ago in 2000.”

    Sorry to be a pedant, but didn’t the EOS 350D Rebel XT come out in 2005? Did you mean one of the film Rebels?

  • Chang 场河

    The real question is, were these shot with a Leica?

  • SeoulFood

    “usual run-of-the-mill, safari tourism stuff”

    How else is wildlife in Africa supposed to be photographed? Also, he lives in South Africa, so for him it’s taking pictures of the local wildlife.

  • Calim

    You should check out some of Nick Brandt’s work. In my opinion by far the best shots of African wildlife.

  • jackregnart

    It’s quite nice being in a country where you can’t stroll the garden at night because you might get chewed out by a hippo or trampled by one of the buffalo living in the compound.

  • Noelani Lois

    Start earning $3000 a week by working an online job from your home… (Only for USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand) Try it now>

  • Dover

    Do something with it.

  • Dover

    Your envy should be embarrassing to you. These are really not run of the mill images. I am not saying they are the best images ever captured in Africa,but these are not something to ridicule. Allow others to share their achievements. So you can’t afford a 1DX and long lens, or a trip to Africa. Post your stunning shots so some other self loathing photographer can treat you the same Adam Cross. Get over yourself. Your comment reeks of envy.

  • Noodle

    Wow. I feel like the personalities of the big cats were captured – unusual.

  • bob cooley

    There seems to be a strange correlation with Dentists and photography. Many dentists offices I’ve visited (both as a patient, and ones I’ve shot for brochures, etc.) have had their own photography hanging on the walls.

  • OtterMatt

    Sounds like my home. Beautiful? At times. Engaging for other people to look at in a photo? Um, not really. :

  • OtterMatt

    These are badass. And be honest, if you were going, you’d prolly rent the body and lenses, too, so your photos wouldn’t look any different from the “affluent” crowd you like to apparently run down.

  • OtterMatt

    Probably something about staring into people’s mouths all day. I’d want to see pretty things after that, too.

  • Grive

    What are you talking about?

    These are great photogaphs, full of character and display a keen eye for capturing the animals.

    This is posted because the photographs are stunning. And we know he’s a dentist because this is a blog, and people tend to write stuff about the stuff in the blog. This ain’t a photo gallery.

    And, in any case, assuming they’re kinda meh as you say, what benefit does it take to put him down? Is it because he’s an amateur (god forbid!)?

  • Adam Cross

    well, I’m not a wildlife photographer, so envy isn’t the right word. “Bored” would be the right word.

  • Adam Cross

    that’s precisely my point. because everyone who photographs these animals do it from the back of a truck and there are thousands of photographers posting the same stuff on a regular basis, it’s boring and makes no sense for a PP post unless a photographer is doing something particularly special…but this guy isn’t. I don’t know, if someone thinks these photos are stunning they either a) don’t consume a lot of images or b) haven’t seen many wildlife photos.

  • Adam Cross

    Of course, it’s all highly subjective, but we consume a lot of images on a daily basis and something reallllly has to be special to stand out and be called “stunning”. I just don’t think these photos are that.

  • Adam Cross

    I’m not trying to run them down, just making an observation. renting a 1D-X and 3/4/500+mm lens is hardly a cheap alternative, not to mention the cost of safaris and flights etc. I’m not a wildlife photographer, like I said, just making observations.

  • Dj

    I’d rather visit a full time dentist than say one who changes oil at a jiffy lube part time. ^_^

  • OtterMatt

    You absolutely ran this guy down. You lumped him in with wealthy also-ran hobbyists, implying that he has no real interest in photography outside of it being a rich boy’s pasttime. You said his images couldn’t stand on their own, saying that he was only posted because of his day job. He’s not here because of some kind of spectacle, he’s here because he took good photos.

  • Chris Lyn

    I have to agree with you Adam, I was expecting some fantastical photos, but all I saw were just some ok stuff. Nothing that I couldn’t capture myself.

  • Will Mederski

    yes! brandt’s work is wonderfully thoughtful and far from the norm.

  • Will Mederski

    no. look up Nick Brandt’s work.
    THAT is stunning and creative work, showing the character of the land.

  • Grive

    I know of Brandt’s work. He’s vastly superior in every way, shape and form. But, are we not allowed more than one stunning photographer per subject? I always find these comparisons a bit empty. So there’s a better photographer out there (actually, I’d say there are hundreds of better photographers out there), what does it matter? As far as I know, we’re not judging the National Geographic photo contest.

    I didn’t say these were the best. I said they were great and that the photographer had a keen eye.

    A couple of these images stunned me. So, they’re stunning. Not all of them, I admit. Then again, not all of Brandt’s images stun me.

  • kassim

    Surgeon’s photograph? Probably hoax.

  • kassim

    It probably has something to do with their income.

  • bob cooley

    lol – oh, no doubt :)